When you’re smart about your energy consumption, you’re not only helping the environment, but your own financial health. As a renter, you have more power to do this than you might realize.
In the search for an apartment or townhome to rent, your energy-saving savvy starts with paying attention to the location of the property itself. A living room with large windows facing south can provide passive heat on a sunny winter day. Top floor apartments have lower heating bills, while apartments on the lowest floor have lower air conditioning bills. Apartments in the middle have more consistent energy usage.
Consider reasons for the low rent for that cheap apartment. Is it lower because the building isn’t well maintained? Do the windows have single-pane glass? Are there drafty doors? These can affect your utility bill.
Beyond this, here are 15 ways to reduce your apartment’s energy usage:
- After you’ve moved in and arranged your furniture, make sure nothing is covering or blocking registers.
- If your townhome’s thermostat is programmable, program it! If you have to change it manually, make it a habit.
- If you have a fireplace, close the flue damper when you’re not using it.
- Hang insulated window coverings. Take them with you when you move.
- Swap out light bulbs for CFL bulbs. Swap them back when you move on to your next home or rental.
- Use the right sized pot for the stovetop burner. A 6-inch pot on an 8-inch burner loses over 40 percent of its energy.
- Check the temperature inside your refrigerator and freezer. Keeping it too cold can be a waste.
- Wash all of your clothes in cold water. Always wash full loads.
- Remove clothes from the dryer when they’re dry. (This one scores you points with your neighbors, too!) Every time you add more time to already-dry clothes, your money is evaporating right out the dryer vent.
- Clean the lint trap on the dryer after every load.
- Hang-dry the clothes you can. Not many apartments or townhomes have access to a clothesline, so improvise and hang clothes on hangers on the shower rod or from a window crank. There are also plenty of affordable collapsible racks available.
- Use less hot water. Take a shower instead of a bath and aim for shorter showers.
- Before leaving on vacation or a long weekend, adjust your thermostat for an empty apartment. Turn off ceiling fans.
- Make sure your larger electronic devices are ENERGY STAR® rated. Program your computer to switch to sleep mode and turn off your printer until it’s time to actually print something.
- Unplug charging cords and devices when you aren’t using them. Use smart power strips to turn devices off completely. No phantom power!
By being smart with your energy consumption and keeping more of your hard-earned money, you’ll be on your way to affording that home or luxury apartment you’ve been dreaming of!